Product Liability in Australia
Australia's product liability regime is a combination of provisions contained primarily in the Australian Consumer Law (Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)). These provisions apply to Australian made products as well as foreign made goods that are imported into Australia for sale.
The regime contains the novel prohibition on misleading or deceptive conduct in addition to prohibitions on various forms of misrepresentation, provides a range of consumer guarantees, and imposes liability on manufacturers and importers for goods with safety defects. The regime embraces both public and private enforcement. The regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is given extensive powers. Moreover some provisions are the subject of civil penalties. Further, substantial class actions have increasingly involved actions for breaches of the consumer guarantees and for products with safety defects, with claims being brought in relation to a wide array of products and incidents.
Manufacturers and retailers need to ensure that adherence to Australia's product liability regime is part of their compliance and risk management procedures.
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